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aka - Ladro di bambini, Il
Italy 1992
Directed by
Gianni Amelio
115 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Stolen Children

This realist-style film, as with Alice In The Cities and Kolya belongs to one of my favourite film categories, the little recognized, often-scorned for its sentimentality, awakening-of-the-adult-male-through-his-caring-for-a-child drama.

Enrico Lo Verso plays a carabiniere escorting a brother and sister from Milan to Sicily after they have taken from their mother who had sold the girl into prostitution. Initially the children and their adult minder are antipathetic to each other, but they gradually develop a deep bond. Writer/director Gianni Amelio elicits wonderful performances from the children, particularly Valentina Scalici as the abused girl, Rosetta, and tells his story with an effective, discreet naturalism.

Whilst perhaps following a too-regular oscillation between emotional highs and lows it manages to convey the conflicts and complexities of life within the constraints of its narrative structure and also to interweave quiet observations on contemporary Italian urban society.




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